“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was released on DVD and Blu-Ray September 9th. At the box office, it grossed the second highest amount of money this year (nearly $260 million), behind only “Guardians of the Galaxy.” This movie is the sequel to “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and the ninth installment in the “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” a series of superhero films based on Marvel’s comic books. The movie returns stars from previous Marvel movies, including Chris Evans, reprising his role as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson, repeating her role as the Black Widow, and Samuel L. Jackson, replaying the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury. We are also introduced to a new hero, The Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie.
The movie follows the events of Marvel’s “The Avengers.” Captain America, a.k.a. Steve Rogers, is struggling to deal with modern day society. After one of his fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents is attacked, Captain America discovers that things may not be what they seem and that S.H.I.E.L.D. itself may be corrupt. He joins forces with Nick Fury, The Black Widow, and The Falcon to discover the truth and defend himself against the mysterious Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan. This action/adventure takes twists and turns throughout its entire length and leaves even Captain America wondering who he can trust.
If you liked any of the previous Marvel movies, you’ll love “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” It features the same type of humor included in previous Marvel movies, and it keeps you engaged throughout the entire film. Not only did Marvel make one of its most financially successful movies ever, it might have made its highest quality movie yet! I give it 4 out of 4 popcorn kernels!
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” was released August 19th on Blu-Ray and DVD. This superhero movie grossed $202.9 million at the U.S. box office. Its lead cast features some familiar faces, with Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network”) and Emma Stone (“Easy A”) playing the main characters. Jamie Foxx (“Ray”) is another big name, though his character’s strange appearance makes him more difficult to recognize.
In the beginning, viewers witness Richard Parker destroying all of his research and leaving his son, Peter, with his brother. We can tell that Richard is running from people because of his work, but we don’t know why until later in the movie. These action-packed scenes really suck viewers into the movie and make them want to know what happens next.
Next, we see the grown-up versions of Peter Parker (Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Stone) at their high-school graduation. Peter has been having a hard time with their relationship due to a promise he made to Gwen’s father, depicted in the last movie. He’s debating between staying with her because he loves her and can’t be away from her, or leaving her because he wants her to be safe. This internal conflict really emphasizes the humanity of a superhero’s character. Even though he is powerful, he still has personal problems of his own.
On a separate note, we meet Max Dillon (Foxx), who is a really smart guy. However, no one respects him, and he often gets pushed around. Max is obsessed with Spider-Man, and one day, Spider-Man saves his life, which just adds fuel to the fire. Viewers can see that a lifetime of bullying has turned Max into a loose cannon. On his birthday, he has to work late to fix an electrical problem. While doing so, something goes wrong, and Max is involved in a transformational accident.
Die-hard superhero fans will find “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” incredible. It follows the story of the comic books more closely than the other series of Spider-Man movies (featuring Tobey Maguire) did a few years ago. Yet somehow, it comes off as less cheesy than the comic books. This set of Spider-Man movies reminds me of the newer Batman series, in that it’s more realistic, as though the main superhero could be an actual person and not just an idea. With a plot that is very unpredictable (unless you’ve read the comics), and some great humor throughout, I give this movie 3 out of 4 popcorn kernels.
Andrew and John Erwin bring us “Moms’ Night Out,” released on September 2. This film, which grossed over $10 million, is about three mothers who decide to take a well deserved night off while their husbands handle the rowdy kids. Things couldn’t possibly go wrong! While no huge A-list actors star in this film, the main characters are played by some recognizable faces, including Sarah Drew from “Grey’s Anatomy,” Patricia Heaton from “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Sean Astin from “Lord Of The Rings,” Alex Kendrick and Robert Amaya from “Courageous,” and country star Trace Adkins.
Allyson (Drew) is a mom who is all about the health and safety of her children, no matter how much stress it causes her or her marriage. She and her best friend, Izzy (Andrea Logan White), mother of young twins, decide they should take a night to relive their glory days of high heels and freedom. They invite their pastor’s wife, Sondra (Heaton), to join them while the menfolk stay behind with the wonderful but rambunctious bunch of kids. Things go well until Allyson discovers a miscommunication with the restaurant about the date of her reservation. Here is where one of my favorite comedians and actresses, Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, makes a laughable appearance as the cool and calm hostess. At this fancy new eatery, Allyson runs across the father of her sister-in-law’s baby, who was supposed to be watching their son that night. Discovering the baby was left in the care of a tattoo artist named Bones (Adkins), the ladies set out on an unexpected evening of adventure and hilarity. It’s not just the women who have a crazy night. The men discover that corralling the kids is more challenging evening than they anticipated.
The movie depicts a worst-case scenario for all situations, but we all have those days where these things could actually happen in our lives. For those of you who loved “Facing The Giants,” “Fireproof,” and “Courageous,” this film will also fill you with equal emotions and joy. It’s got a similar positive, uplifting message, but with tons of humor thrown in. It’s amazingly clean for all audiences, and it’s especially perfect for a ladies’ night in! Your inner mom will find comfort, inspiration, and humor in the God-filled film. It reminds us all that true peace comes from Him, and He will grant it if we only surrender it to Him.